Lovettsville air disaster
|Date||August 31, 1940 14:41|
|Summary||Lightning strike (probable)|
|Site||near Short Hill Mountain, Lovettsville, Virginia
|Aircraft type||Douglas DC-3|
|Operator||Pennsylvania Central Airlines|
|Flight origin||Washington, DC|
The Lovettsville air disaster occurred on August 31, 1940 near Lovettsville, Virginia. Pennsylvania Central Airlines Trip 19 was a new Douglas DC-3A that was flying through an intense thunderstorm at 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Numerous witnesses reported seeing a large flash of lightning shortly before it nosed over and plunged to earth in an alfalfa field. With limited accident investigation tools at the time, it was at first believed that the most likely cause was the plane flying into windshear, but the Civil Aeronautics Board report concluded that the probable cause was a lightning strike. U.S. Senator Ernest Lundeen from Minnesota was one of those killed.
"Trip 19", as it was designated, was under the command of Captain Lowell V. Scroggins with First Officer J. Paul Moore. The pilot and copilot had over eleven thousand and six thousand hours experience respectively, although only a few hundred were on DC-3s. In the jump seat rode a new administrative employee of the airline, hired on August 26.
- "Report of the Civil Aeronautics Board". Civil Aeronautics Board. Retrieved 2009-04-15. (Archive)
- "Causes of U.S. accidents" (PDF). Flight. December 19, 1940. p. 529.
- "Death in the Blue Ridge". Time. 1940-09-09. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
The news of the worst crash in the history of U. S. aviation ended 17 months of safe operation.
- Accident details PlaneCrashInfo
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